Chapter 4

Being Materialistic

IN THIS CHAPTER

check Exploring the elements

check Laying down the ground rules of metal removal

check From steels to superalloys: Exploring metals

check Playing around with plastics

As well might it be said that, because we are ignorant of the laws by which metals are produced and trees developed, we cannot know anything of the origin of steamships and railways.

—ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE

Read any trade publication, attend any seminar, and you’ll soon find that machining is all about material removal. But what is this thing called material? If you’re a construction worker, you might pick up some building material at the lumber yard. Seamstresses go shopping for material at the fabric store. Material handling equipment lifts heavy loads, while material handlers stock shelves and fill orders.

In the machining world, the word “material” most often refers to metal. The rusty low-carbon-steel lawn chair you sat on during the barbeque last weekend is one example of metallic material, as is the 303-stainless-steel toaster on your kitchen counter.

Plastics are also important, however, ...

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